Well I’m all behind like the cow’s tail again: how do I manage it? I read this book over the weekend – in June, for a start, and here I am in July posting about it. Sigh. Going away at the weekend to a lovely party for the photo-a-day group I’m in knocked out a run and a post about running and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. However, this did allow me to include a lovely book parcel that arrived from Cari today, so confessions below my 20BooksOfSummer review …

Cathy Kelly – “The House on Willow Street”

(23 April 2019)

I found this in a charity shop in Shirley when I went to visit my friend Linda. I’ve probably read all of Kelly’s books over the years: she’s a lovely reliable heir to Maeve Binchy’s empire, with similar stories of neighbourhoods and communities and different women drawn together by circumstance.

This one was a bit different, in that it was set in a seaside town, not Dublin, and revolved around the inhabitants there, most notably Danae, the postmistress, who keeps herself very much to herself (until her niece arrives to stay and mend her broken heart) and Tess, daughter of the big house at the top of the street until it was sold when they couldn’t afford to run it. Tess’ sister Suki and old flame Cashel Reilly are also involved as someone buys the big house and starts to do it up, inheritances are lost and won, secrets come out and the community pulls together.

I did enjoy this and the bits with Cashel and his fancy lifestyle away from the quite town he grew up in seemed OK but Suki’s marriage into the American elite and relationship with a rock star seemed a bit too bonkbuster for Cathy Kelly’s usual quite gentle style (she does cover big issues, and does here, but doesn’t tend to do sex’n’shopping. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of that, but it’s not quite what you expect from her novels.) I did really like the way Danae opens up to the community, especially when she accidentally invites a lonely old gentleman, the vicar and the lovely Nigerian curate round for Christmas lunch.

Not at all a bad book to read on a trip to Cornwall, but not my favourite of her novels.

This was Book 3 in my #20BooksOfSummer which I am quite obviously totally nailing.

A lovely parcel from dear Cari over in New York today – I do keep offering her books from my read piles! Susan Lacke’s “Running Outside the Comfort Zone” sees a sports journalist take on all sorts of funny running challenges to push herself – cheese rolling and the like, in order to rekindle her love of the sport. Vassos Alexander’s “Don’t Stop me Now” is a celebration of all sorts of runners and running itself, probably one to take away to read when I do my ultramarathon in several (many, honestly!) days’ time. And Richard Grant’s “Dispatches from Pluto” is a travel writer moving to an old plantation house in Mississippi (in a town called Pluto) which explains the South, especially it turns out to his friends. Highly recommended by Cari.

So, have you read any of those? Should I give up working and just read all day to make a dent in my lovely TBR?